The Red Sox added another arm today, trading for struggling Indians righthander Jason Johnson, who has eight losses and an ERA around 6.00 for the season. The Sox get Johnson and cash consideration in the deal in exchange for a player to be named later and cash.
Johnson’s role is not immediately known, though he could be given a shot to be the team’s fifth starter. To make room for him on the roster, the Red Sox optioned righthander Kyle Snyder to Triple-A Pawtucket.
The 32-year-old Johnson, who was designated for assignment yesterday, was 3-8 with a 5.96 ERA in 14 starts for the Indians this season and is 1-8 with a 7.38 ERA in his last 10 starts. Johnson, signed in the offseason after two years with Detroit, has allowed 10 homers and 108 hits in 77 innings. The 10-year veteran has a career record of 55-94 with a 4.95 ERA in 229 appearances (213 as a starter).
The Indians will pay most of his $3.5 million salary for this season. He had a one-year contract that had mutual options for either party to get out of it in 2007.
What’s to like about Johnson? The Red Sox were quick to point out his great ground ball-to-fly ball ratio (2.85 to 1, third in the American League). He has finished in the top 10 in the AL in that category in each of the last three seasons.
The 6-foot-6, 225-pound journeyman has spent time in Pittsburgh (1997), Tampa Bay (1998), Baltimore (1999-2003), Detroit (2004-05) and Cleveland (2006).
Johnson and righty Paul Byrd were signed by Cleveland as free agents before the season to help make up for the loss of Kevin Millwood, who signed with Texas. But Johnson was ineffective again Monday when he allowed two homers in a 12-8 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
He had an 8-13 record and 4.54 ERA with the Tigers last season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.